II. Indications

  1. Neuromuscular disorder
  2. Extensive Head or neck procedure
  3. Upper airway obstruction
    1. Congenital craniofacial anomaly (e.g. laryngeal hyperplasia)
    2. Foreign body
    3. Supraglottic mass or infection
    4. Bilateral Vocal Cord Paralysis
    5. Neck Trauma with secondary injury to the Larynx, trachea, Thyroid cartilage or other airway adjacent structures
    6. Severe facial Trauma
    7. Severe, refractory Sleep Apnea
    8. Airway burns

III. Complications

  1. Foreign Body Aspiration
    1. Consider especially if Developmental Delay
  2. Obstruction
    1. Mucous plugging
      1. Instill saline and attempt aspiration
      2. Tracheostomy replacement if in place >6 weeks or unable to unplug with other measures (see below)
    2. Granulation tissue
      1. Suspected if resistance and bleeding occur on attempted suctioning
    3. False tract
      1. Consider if tube recently changed
  3. Tracheitis (often accompanied by Pneumonia)
    1. Presents as increased secretion volume or change in color or odor (with or without fever)
    2. Obtain culture of discharge
    3. Obtain Chest XRay
    4. Initial empiric antibiotic selection may be assisted by prior Tracheostomy culture results
    5. Admission indications
      1. Pneumonia with Hypoxia
      2. Frequent suctioning required
      3. Neuromuscular disorder
  4. Bleeding
    1. Otolaryngology or pulmonology Consultation for likely bronchoscopy to identify bleeding source
    2. Any significant bleeding, even if stopped, requires careful evaluation
      1. Initial bleeding event may transiently stop, but herald masssive bleeding when clot is displaced
    3. Causes
      1. Mucous membrane dryness
      2. Granuloma adjacent to Tracheostomy entry site
      3. Tracheitis
      4. Repeated suctioning
      5. Excessive coughing
      6. Innominate artery erosion (see below)
  5. Innominate artery erosion (rare, but catastrophic)
    1. Emergency condition requiring immediate otolaryngology or thoracic surgery management
    2. More common with metal Tracheostomy tubes or recently placed or upsized Tracheostomy tubes
    3. Temporizing measures
      1. Cuff balloon hyperinflation to tamponade the innominate artery
      2. Attempt to lever the Tracheostomy tube against the region of the innominate artery
      3. Intubate patient from above or replace Tracheostomy tube with Endotracheal Tube (over an Elastic Bougie)
        1. Place finger along ET Tube and attempt to compress the innominate artery against the Sternum

IV. Procedures: Tracheostomy replacement

  1. Assemble assistance
    1. Involve respiratory therapy
    2. Involve anesthesia (and otolaryngology if available)
  2. Prepare two Tracheostomy tubes and an Endotracheal Tube
    1. Tracheostomy tube (Shiley or Bivona) similar in size to that being replaced
    2. Tracheostomy tube (Shiley or Binova) a size smaller than that being replaced
    3. Endotracheal Tube similar to the smaller callibre tacheostomy tube (or 6-0 for an adult)
    4. Use cuffed tubes if Mechanical Ventilation is expected
  3. Lubricate the tubes
    1. Apply saline-based lubricant (avoid petroleum-based lubricant due to aspiration risk)
  4. Exchange the tube (high risk)
    1. Avoid prolonged exchange procedure as patient is without definitive airway until new Tracheostomy is positioned correctly
    2. Tracheostomy tube is inserted with the hard plastic obturator in place
    3. Avoid creating false passage on replacement (especially if <7 days after insertion)
    4. Consider placing the small Endotracheal Tube if unable to replay the Tracheostomy tube
      1. Consider placement over a wire or Elastic Bougie

VI. References

  1. Claudius and Behar in Majoewsky (2013) EM:Rap 13(10): 7-9
  2. Swadron (2019) Pulmonology 2, CCME Board Review, accessed 6/18/2019

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Ontology: Tracheostomy procedure (C0040590)

Definition (NCI) Creation of a surgical opening into the trachea.
Definition (NCI_NCI-GLOSS) Surgery to create an opening (stoma) into the windpipe. The opening itself may also be called a tracheostomy.
Definition (MSH) Surgical formation of an opening into the trachea through the neck, or the opening so created.
Concepts Therapeutic or Preventive Procedure (T061)
MSH D014139
ICD10 536
SnomedCT 265841002, 48387007
CPT 31600, 31601
English Tracheostomies, Tracheostomy, tracheostomy (treatment), tracheostomy, Tracheostomy procedure, tracheostomy procedure, Tracheostomy op., Tracheostomy, NOS, Tracheostomy Procedure
Japanese 気管切開, キカンセッカイ
Swedish Trakeostomi
Czech tracheostomie, Tracheostomie
Finnish Trakeostomia
Polish Wytworzenie przetoki w tchawicy, Tracheostomia
Hungarian Tracheostomia
Norwegian Trakeostomi
Spanish traqueostomía, Traqueostomía
Dutch tracheostomie, Tracheostomie
French Trachéotomie, Trachéostomie
German Tracheostomie
Italian Tracheostomia
Portuguese Traqueostomia